Journal Entry January 24, 2011

All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us. – J.R.R. Tolkien

What do I do with this time I’ve been given?

How can I be a good steward of my time?

I must learn how to budget my time like I need to learn how to budget my finances because I am called to do both. I am learning how I can best use my time to the best of my ability. I am learning how to focus.

TV off. Internet closed.

Computer’s only function: play music.

For the last week I’ve been intentional about having my TV shut off by 9 pm (although tonight it was off at 8 pm) so that I can spend time focused on the Word or other tasks I want or need to do. It doesn’t get me to bed faster but it is causing me to focus on what I’ve put off doing.

Procrastination is not my friend. But it has become my companion unfortunately. Because I don’t want to deal with the hard stuff. I don’t want to look at my “demons”, my inadequate parts – that which falls short of the woman I have been created to become.

Because to face that would mean pain. It will – and does – hurt to look in the mirror and not see who I am called to be looking back at me. She is not who I was but she’s not who I am supposed to be either.

She falls short every day. But I’m seeing a gradual change. A maturing. It’s not outward (at least, I hope not) but it’s in the Spirit. It’s in the Soul. The Spirit changes first, then the Soul. The heart changes in the process of it all.

Brother Barry mentioned in Sunday School yesterday about how it’s not the memories of our past, before our coming to know Jesus, that cause us to fall and falter, but the scars they leave behind.

The scar tissue is hard. It’s not pliable like flesh. No, it can’t move easily like the skin we wear. It can cause other areas to be hindered, too.

But if there is therapy, it can be softened. The Great Physician can soften those places and then take His scalpel and remove it when the time comes to completely remove it. But it is only when we submit to His counsel, His healing process that He will go in and remove it because God will never force His children to do what they do not agree to do. He will not force Himself upon us.

IdeaCamp: Adoption

I never really gave it much thought but I’ve been affected by adoption since I was a little girl. I’m not adopted. No one in my immediate family is adopted. But a friend of mine who I’ve know 20+ years is adopted. So is her sister. I have a cousin who adopted her son, too. They weren’t adopted from other countries but from right here in the US.

Around the world there are 163 million orphans. The population of the United States is roughly 311,879,621. The world population – 6,893,077,763 (US & World Population Clock).

The fact that the number of orphans worldwide is more than half the population of the United States is crazy to me.

But we live in a world where Jesus is reduced to a religion and not a relationship. When Amber had originally asked if people would be willing to write blog posts for the IdeaCamp blog about Adoption and Orphan Care, I did research about the natural plight of the orphan but also to read what the Bible says about the orphan and adoption.

Here is what I found about adoption in the US – there aren’t many statistics. I live in Massachusetts and I wanted to know how many children were adopted in my state in 2009 and there isn’t an “official” number. (I’m sure this is because they legally can’t or won’t. As someone who works in the legal field, this is one of the most frustrating parts of the system for me but that is for another post at another time.) It’s roughly 600-800 children per year are adopted in MA. There are many more in the foster care system in Massachusetts waiting for their forever families.

Biblically, the Old Testament talks about caring for the orphan and the widow (Exodus 22:22; Deut. 10:18, 24:19-21; Psalm 68:5 are just a few Scriptures). We know that Moses was adopted by the Pharaoh’s daughter. Esther was an orphan who was cared for by her uncle, Mordecai. The New Testament talks less about orphan care but talks about the believer as an orphan who has been adopted by God as our Heavenly Father (see Ephesians 1:5; Romans 8:23,9:4).

I’m not writing this post to convince you to adopt or to consider adopting. I don’t believe everyone is called to adopt. I believe God has called me to adopt because it has been on my heart for the last 10 years and that desire has only become stronger in the last 1 1/2 years.

Instead, prayerfully consider what you can do to help the orphan and to help orphan care. Maybe you know someone who is in the process of adopting either domestically or internationally. There are ways you can help them by praying for and with them or, if they already have children, by offering to watch their children when they need to go to an appointment or when they are bringing their son or daughter home.

Also, please consider attending !deaCamp//Orphan Care in NW Arkansas this February 25-26. For more information, please check out the !deaCamp website. Also, check out the blog where you can read more posts by other bloggers who are also want to encourage the Church to help the orphan.

One Word 2011

Alece chose one word. So did Ann and Lindsey.

I thought I had chosen a word for last year but I didn’t.

This year I am. I’ve chosen the word focus. Focus on God. Focus on now, on the present.

The definition of focus is “a central point, as of attraction, attention, or activity.”

One reason why I’ve chosen focus is because I noticed this past year that I had lost focus of God and His plan for my life.

As an amateur photog, I know the importance of focus in pictures. This year I want to learn the importance of focus in my life, in my relationship with God. I want to focus on life in the here and now. No longer looking back or worrying about tomorrow.

I’ve looked over my shoulder for too long, worrying about my past harming my present or my future. And I’ve been worrying about tomorrow for too long – concerned more about what is going to happen 5 minutes, 5 days, 5 weeks or 5 months from now instead of living. I haven’t been taking in all that’s around me on a daily basis.

Living in the moment, living for God. Focused on the here and now. I am going to learn to do that in 2011.

It’s going to be a process. It may hurt here and there but I won’t give up.

Ushering in the New Year

So I haven’t posted at all really in the last 3 weeks.

And in the last 3 weeks I’ve been sick, a dear couple I am blessed to call friends got married, Christmas came and went (although I barely saw Christmas day since I spent half the day sleeping) and now that December 31st is almost here, I am going to spend the next few days continuing to be quiet and read and listen for God and when he wants to tell me about the coming year. I feel so much expectation for the new year.

There’s an excitement about a “fresh start.”

But I think instead it’s going to be a new chapter instead. Not so much of a starting over as a building upon the last 29 years(!).

I’ll be spending the next 11 months contemplating something really good for the big 3-0 birthday coming up next December. My boss’ wife says I should do something big. And I’m thinking that’s not a bad idea… It’s just figuring that all out…

Hopefully you’ll be there for the journey.

But, until January 1, 2011, I pray that you and yours have a wonderful New Year’s celebration. I’ll be at my church’s annual New Year’s Eve service. If you’re in the Springfield/Northampton area (and that’s a big area), service starts at 8:00 p.m. (give or take a few minutes) and if you need directions, check out the website here.

!deaCamp: Orphan Care

ICO_banner3In November, I saw a tweet come up on my Twitter feed from Amber Haines that asked if there were any bloggers interested in orphan care. I sent a direct message back saying that I was interested. After a couple more messages on Twitter, Amber said she would email me the info. So about a week later, I got the email.

I’m excited and nervous for what we are doing for seven weeks starting the first week in January. There is a group of bloggers, those that are more well-known and those, like me, who aren’t as well-known, who will all be blogging about Orphan Care in preparation for the IC//Orphan in NW Arkansas February 25-26, 2011.

All of our posts will be linked on the Idea Camp blog so that you can read all of them or just some of them. Each week we will be discussing the following topics:

  • Adoption
  • Orphan Trafficking
  • US and International Care
  • Child Sponsorship
  • Community Development
  • Foster Care, Mentoring and Special Needs Care
  • Orphan Care and the Family

If you click on the picture above it will take you to the Idea Camp blog and you will be able to read other posts by the other bloggers participating. Below is a small blurb about what the Idea Camp is all about:

The Idea Camp is a collaborative movement of idea-makers who facilitate hybrid conferences and develop resources for people who desire to move ideas towards implementation. Facilitated by a growing collective of innovative thinkers and practitioners from numerous disciplines, participants gather around topics of interest to encourage & inspire one another, share practical wisdom from the field, and develop viable networks for idea-making.

If you click here, you can check out the Idea Camp website and get more information about IC//Orphan. Click here for the Idea Camp blog post from December 1 about the Idea Camp in February.

For me, this is a journey that is very personal and I will discuss it more in the coming weeks. I’ve mentioned it before that I have a heart for young women and for those that are victims of human trafficking and many victims of human trafficking are orphans. I also have a heart for adoption and someday I hope that I can adopt as well.

I hope that you’ll come back next month to read about Orphan Care and how you and I can help to change the plight of the 160+ million orphans around the world.

You can also follow Idea Camp on Twitter at: theideacamp

Today is My Birthday

29 years ago today, I was born during a blizzard. Or, at least, that’s what my parents tell me.

And, today, on my 29th birthday, I’m not working.

I decided I needed a long weekend and since I have vacation days left to use, I figured that using it to take off my birthday was a good use of a vacation day.

I don’t have too much planned for today and I did that intentionally. I didn’t want to feel obligated to do anything or be anywhere. This morning I am going to breakfast with my Pastor’s wife. It’s been a while since I’ve sat down with her and why not today? 🙂

I’m not sure what I’ll be doing this afternoon but tonight I will be driving to Greenfield, MA to hear the Word of God from Michael Tyrrell. He’s a wonderful man of God and has an ear to hear what God is saying to him. He speaks truth and has biblically sound teach.

Pretty good birthday if I do say so myself. 🙂

Keep on the look out next week for a post from me about a weekly series I’ll be doing in January and February. I know I have posted too much in the last couple of months and I might not post too much this month either with all that is going with holidays and a wedding but I’ll do my best 🙂

Blessings!

Jen

Excitement for the immediate future

I am really excited about the next coming months of blogging. I’m not going to write too much in this post because I’ll be writing a post on December 8th that will explain it all but I will say this: What we’ll be doing is so near and dear to my heart that I am so so glad that I am apart of it!

Come back on December 8th and you can read all about it!